Common Causes of Falls for Hillsborough Dementia Patients

November 15, 2016

Dementia not only affects memory, but can also increase the likelihood of falling. Over 30% of seniors will fall at some point, but among those with dementia the rate is much higher. Dementia can affect a person’s perception which means they may not see something in the floor or may not step properly. Anxiety over falling can also increase the chance of falls which adds to the confusion and instability. Sturdy, confident steps will eventually turn into more of a shuffle movement as the symptoms progress.

These are of a few of the causes of falls in people with dementia:

  1.  Physical weakness. Even dementia patients in excellent health will notice a change in gait and balance. Many doctors believe that these changes are one of the first indicators of dementia. As dementia progresses, there is declining muscle strength, walking ability and balance.
  2. Lack of exercise. If a person lacks strength from not exercising regularly and they are weak to begin with, this can increase the risk of falls.
  3. Memory impairment. Due to cognitive decline, many patients may not realize they can no longer walk well any longer. They may not remember that they were told to wait or not get up and move around or that they are weaker and their ability to move is limited.
  4. Poor judgment. Making poor decisions due to memory loss can also lead to going out alone, walking without assistance or stepping on ice or somewhere that may cause harm.
  5. Visual-spatial problems. Patients may misjudge steps or uneven terrain which may cause them to fall.
  6. Clutter. A patient may bump into cluttered areas or fall on a slippery rug that is not placed well. It is important to remove clutter and clean-up as best you can.
  7. Fatigue. Falls may increase near bedtime or when the person is feeling weak.
  8. Medication side-effects. Certain medications can increase the risk of falls such as a drop in blood pressure when standing, dizziness or weakness.

Call Acorn if you are looking for compassionate in home care givers.
We serve Durham, Hillsborough, Chapel Hill and surrounding areas.

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